USA NPN National Phenology Network

Taking the Pulse of Our Planet

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NCEAS Forecasting Phenology Working Group

Combining expertise from ecologists, phylogeneticists, and climatologists, this group is using extensive plant phenology data from experimental and observational studies across North America and Europe to conduct metaanalysis and develop robust predictors of plant phenology responses and sensitivies to climate change. The resulting database of phenological studies, their related climate variables, and phylogenetic trees will be the most comprehensive data available to study the relationship between climate change and plant species phenological responses. 

Thus far, the 20-member NCEAS Forecasting Phenology Working Group has synthesized and analyzed two large databases and produced 4 cutting-edge papers about the impact of climate variability/change on the timing of leafing and flowering in the Northern Hemisphere. These papers: 

  • Present a theoretical framework for predicting global and community-level plant phenological responses to climate change (Pau et al. 2011, Global Change Biology)
  • Introduce a new database of phenological observations for North America (NECTAR) and compare it with a European one (PEP725) to help guide expansion of global monitoring that anticipates a wide range of scientific questions (Cook et al., In Prep Frontiers in Ecology & Evolution)
  • Show that warming experiments underpredict advances in leafing and flowering by at least fourfold compared to NECTAR long-term observations, arguing for improved experimental designs, expanded monitoring, and caution in exclusive use of experimental results in global ecosystem models (Wolkovitch et al., In Rev.,Science)
  • Evaluate climatologies of spring onset variations and trends in the western (Ault et al. 2011, J. Climate) and coterminous U.S. (McCabe et al. In Press, International Journal of Climatology)